3 Adjustments to Complete an Overcommitment

I did it again. About halfway through I realized a familiar feeling and thought, “Good grief. Here I go again.”

It was this morning around 7:10AM. Mile 7.5 of a committed 15-mile run. The feeling was more physical than mental. Well, I guess it was equally both. And it was the feeling brought on by overcommitment.

The commitment to 15 miles, at least in my world, is not a bad thing. But what I failed to acknowledge was that my body was questioning the commitment before I made it lace up my Brooks. My quads were saying, “Hey! I told you yesterday I needed a break. You might regret this.”

Between mile 7.5 and 11 it became apparent running all 15 was going to be unnecessary, self-inflicted torture (overcommitment defined). Sound familiar? Maybe your torture isn’t from running, but if you’re prone to overcommitment you know exactly what mile 11 feels like. 

Your mile 11 may be hosting Thanksgiving dinner, holding a drink at a reception wondering why you’re there, or looking up from your laptop and seeing it’s an hour past quitting time. You’re in. Too late. It’s got to be done. You’d rather call uber to pick you up, but then…

At this point it’s adjustment time. At mile 11.24, I took step one of adjusting, because I had no choice if I didn’t want to be found sprawled out on Manatee Avenue. Here were my three adjustments to my overcommitment this morning.

REGROUP

I started walking. I said, “I’m not looking forward to walking 3.76 miles back home, but neither do I want to be drained for the rest of the day. Been there done that.” My regrouping was to keep moving but at a sustainable pace, not torturous. Why do that? What would I be proving to these unknowing drivers passing me? 

Our regrouping could have various looks. It could be completely hitting the pause button. When we’ve not listened closely enough and we’ve fully drained ourselves, this is unavoidable. It could be simply slowing down and managing ourselves better. This will require honesty and maybe eating some humble pie. “Boss, I overcommitted.” “Honey, I did it again.” Maybe even, “I need help to get this done.” The basic principle of regrouping is acknowledging a better plan is needed now and putting it in place.

RECOVER

My recovery lasted for two miles, roughly 35 minutes. I finished the snack I had, then stopped to refill my water bottle and immediately drank half of it. It was pretty astonishing what that little attention did for my body and my mind. I kept moving and unknowingly prepared myself to resume-not what I was thinking two miles earlier.

So recovery could mean just taking a break to refuel. Leave the office for a half hour to take a walk or get some coffee. Make a phone call to just chat. Do something, anything that will refresh you so you can come back ready to complete the task. The basic principle of recovery is to get ready to finish. Think of it as a pitstop.

RESUME

Surprisingly with less than two miles to the front door, my legs spoke up again. “Ok. Let’s start back up. Smartly.” The first ten steps were rough, but soon I was back in the groove. A slower pace, of course, but moving forward. I made it all the way back home without collapsing. Successful Resumption.

Resuming will have different looks, again, based on how drained you are. It may have to wait 24 hours. It may have to be shelved until you can give it proper focus. But a commitment should not be completely abandoned. Figure out how to complete it rather than letting the overcommitment result in failure or regret.

When it’s completed, you might look back and see something worthwhile. I looked back and realized that my body was trying to tell me that I’ve ran more miles in the last eight days than I ever recall doing. That was a nice realization. I was grateful for following these steps. Now to work on listening to my quads.

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Let the Creating Begin

(A final thought from No One Gets There Alone)

In giving helps for mental toughness, Dr. Bell says that consistency is the key.

Remember, we first create habits, then our habits create us.

Whatever we want to get better at, we must consistently do. Don’t mistake action for achievement. If we want to get better at swimming, then swim; if we want to get better at public speaking, speak. If we want to improve our sales, get a coach. Period.

Whenever I’ve led discussions about spiritual disciplines like prayer or taught on following the leading of the Holy Spirit, comments are always made about not feeling confident on how to do either of these. Let me suggest that Dr. Bell’s encouragement to swimmers and public speakers applies here. Create habits. Be consistent. Just Keep Doing It.

What could some habits be that would create you into a confident disciple?

  1. Pair up with another growth-desiring person. You could do this in many ways. Ask God to bring that person into your life. Be real with them and start pursuing growth together. Chances are that person is already in your life and you just need to take the first step.
  2. Develop your strategy. If you want to read the entire Bible, then find a reading plan that works for you. If it takes you one month, one year, or many years, who cares. Figure out your plan and start moving. 
  3. Say hello to God often. What if you turned off the radio in the car going to or from work just to be alone with God? What if you paused midday to talk about your morning and your afternoon? What if you didn’t get out of bed before saying good morning? What if one day of your weekend you didn’t ask for anything in your prayers and just said thank you? What if you prayed as often as you texted your spouse or best friend?
  4. Test your nudges. It’s possible that thought about that person you rarely think about was a Holy Spirit prompt to reach out. It’s possible that thought to bake your neighbor some cookies was a Holy Spirit avenue to relieve loneliness. It’s possible that cry for sympathy by your waiter’s comment was a Holy Spirit opening to offer a prayer with them.

Here’s a personal example from a different life arena. By nature, I’m not a morning person. I hated my teenage years when my mother would come in my room every morning turning on the lights and declaring it was breakfast time. But you might say, since I began running over ten years ago, I’ve been recreated by developing new habits. The discipline needed to properly train for races has slightly altered me. I now have little problem getting out the door to run by 6am several times a week.  I can even meet people at 6am for a group run and actually enjoy it, occasionally. Let’s not push it.

Who do you want to be? Who is God prompting you to be? What are the habits of that kind of person? Work to establish the habits of that person and let the creating begin.

Half Marathon Training Plan

Occasionally people inquire about what training plan I follow before a race. If you’re reading this post as a result of a Google search, then you have no doubt found many other plans to consider. The race distance you are preparing for certainly determines the plan you should follow. However, this plan pictured below (taken from Runner’s World) is the plan I like most and the one I modify based on the race distance.


This plan is for full marathon preparation, but I modify it for preparing for my half marathons. As you look over it, there may be reasons that this plan looks overwhelming, too much, or maybe undoable. Maybe this is your first half, like my friend who signed up to run with me in September. Maybe you don’t want to run six days a week. Maybe you’re trying to work in cross training. In order to help you modify it, here are some things I’m currently doing that is working for my prep for two halves this fall.

  • I’m only running four days a week the first seven weeks. Weeks 8-13, I’ll probably throw in some extra runs.
  • Two days a week I cross train. What works for me is a 30-minute stairmaster workout at a progressive pace finishing at the highest level of the workout. Each week I’m pushing the pace to set new workout results.
  • I follow the speed and strength workout guidelines as suggested (on Thursday though, not Tuesday) but push the pace to reflect prep for the half versus the full.
  • My modifications to the MP workout is to cut the distance in half and to run it on Sunday, not Thursday.

These are ideas that you can consider and also modify to fit your level. Feel free to message me with any thoughts or questions. I’d also encourage you to consult a running coach to get a full plan in place to reach your race goals.

Following a plan will benefit you tremendously. Figure yours out. Tweak it as needed. Enjoy the training. Celebrate your results.

New West Bradenton Secret

I’d heard how nice the new trail is at Robinson Preserve, so I decided to check it out this morning. WOW! I believe I’ve found a new running home. Here’s a photo of my route so you can see how to get to this entrance off 9th.


Basically, turn left on 9th off 75th, just past King Middle, and drive to the end.

This trail is excellent for walking and running. The surface looks like packed mulch, several inches thick. It’s very easy on the lower body.


And apparently the wildlife like this part of the Preserve also. I came across this guy after he’d snagged breakfast.


NOTE: Restrooms are not at the large parking area. Keep going straight to find them. Look for this building.


You will enjoy this trail, whether it’s your first time in RB or you’ve been enjoying it a long time. Your options have been expanded. See you on the trail!

Three Ways to Let God Out of Your Box

(Third and final entry for this post)

The first two entries talked about two ways to let God out of your box: don’t give up and stop believing lies. Read Nick’s quote again to see the third way.

Too often we tell ourselves we aren’t smart enough or attractive enough or talented enough to pursue our dreams. We buy into what others say about us, or we put restrictions on ourselves. What’s worse is that when we consider ourselves unworthy, we are putting limits on how God can work through us! When you give up on your dreams, you put God in a box.

As a long-distance runner, I often hear people say something like this after they hear about some race I’ve done or I’m preparing for: “I could never do that. You’re amazing.” If I were to bluntly respond what I’m thinking when they say that, it would be something like this: “That’s ridiculous. Of course you could. And by the way, amazing I am not.” This is a simple example of what we often do to God as well. We tell him what’s possible…so in the box he goes. The third way to let him out of your box is to do the opposite.

Resist Putting Limits

Nick said we put limits on how God can work through us. And this can have tragic consequences. Case in point: the Israelite spies in Canaan (read Exodus 13-14). Twelve went in to check it out. Ten said, “No go.” Two said, “We should go.” Forty years later, the ten got want they wanted and so did the two. God showed up for the two who resisted putting limits on him. They experienced what God can do through those who allow him to work through them (read Joshua 6,14).

So how can we resist our human nature and give God all the freedom in our lives he deserves?

  • Foster a mindset of submission to daily prompts from God-“Sure, I’d be happy to ask my neighbor how I can pray for them. What else?”
  • Keep your finger on the “yes” trigger when God comes with a big ask-“Yes, I’ll take a vacation week to go on a mission trip. And I’ll stay open to even moving my family to live there permanently.”
  • Seek counsel from those we believe live submitted lives-“Can we have coffee soon? I’m needing some guidance on something God has challenged me to do.”
  • Surround yourself with other “resisters”-“God, who should be in my corner? Holy Spirit, surround me with fellow resisters.”

In what area(s) of your life is God in your limit box? What could God do through you if you’d resist putting limits on him? Tell God, “I’m sorry for not giving you my ‘yes’ more quickly. I desire to experience what it’s like to give you full access. Show me what it’s like to let you out of my box.”

2017 Running Review

Almost 365 days ago, I ran an 11k in North Carolina on 1-1-17. Not a whole lot of those offered. So why did the race coordinators plan that? The mantra was do a little more, which I translated, push yourself. So instead of running traditional 5ks or 10ks, we did 6ks and 11ks. I wasn’t terribly excited that morning, though. Two days prior I had some ridiculous stomach virus unlike anything I’ve ever had. So without much energy I lined up at the start line. Thanks to good training and raw stubbornness I managed to finish first in my age group.

What I took away from that experience was the goal to do a little more throughout this year in my running. So in setting a total mileage goal for the year, instead of 1,000 I set the goal for 1,111. Happy to say I met that, and a little more (1,133).

In my blog entry on January 17, the word I set my mind on for 2017 was thrive, and for the most part I did. Being a numbers guy, here are a few of my stats:

  • Completed 7 races: 5k, 10k, 11k, and four half marathons
  • Checked off 6 states on the goal to running in all 50: AR, DE, IN, KY, NC, TN (Total stands at 15)
  • Total miles for the year: 1,133 (For the last 9 months, mileage increased from prior month making December the highest total month for the year).

Looking into next year, my phrase is this-More of the Same. Here are my goals and current plans:

  • Total mileage: 1,200
  • Run an ultra marathon-(50k, 31 miles)
  • Check off at least 3 more states-(my eyes are on MS, OH, PA)

Running may not be your thing. Whatever your thing is, how did 2017 go and what do you want to achieve in 2018? 

Sabbatical: The Saturday After

It was a good month. A very good month. Memorable in many ways. I was asked Thursday what was the best highlight. I gave an answer, but I could give you a different answer if you asked me today.

Rather than do highlights, here is the end of my journal entry from 10/30:

The lessons I take away from this month are:

  1. Grace is so needed in this world. I need to give more of it.
  2. People are very lonely in this world. I can offer them hope through my obedience to serve and to give my time, talents, and respect. 
  3. God has what people need in this world. They can find it through various methods-church, community, music, dance, family, books, new friendships, similar connections, and jobs where they can love people. 
  4. There is much to be in awe of in this world. But it shouldn’t replace my awe for the one responsible for all of it. 

For a bonus thought, I’ll share this note from my morning run today. In my first few miles, I wasn’t necessarily feeling it. I thought 7.5 may do it today, although I needed to do more. However, the more I ran the better my legs felt making me think double digit miles were possible after all (I was wearing Alabama socks…gotta be it). I ended up getting just over 10 done and felt good following. It reminded me of Sabbatical race #3 in Dover. 

Here’s the deal: our minds are a tool. They can beat us up or tear us down. Controlling the self talk in our head determines if we’ll finish strong or finish at all. 

Bottom line: Own Your Mind.

Photos to illustrate: 

Following mile 1 in Dover. Thought: “How will these next 12 miles go?”


Finish Line in Dover. Thought: “Thanks, God. We owned those last miles.”

Sabbatical: Race #3

Delaware ✔

Yesterday morning at 7am around 400 runners gathered at the Dover International Speedway to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles. 
2:00:04 later, I’d checked off state 15. 

Last week a non-longdistancerunning friend asked me what I think about while running. So Mark, here’s a rewind as best I remember. 

M1 This is cool, running on the speedway, but not ideal. Stay slow until we leave the track.

M2 10:04 was a little slow. Let’s pick it up. Pass the guy in the Bama hat and say, “Roll Tide.”

M3-5 This is a nice neighborhood. Check out these old houses. Feeling good. Decent pace. Keep it through 5.

M6 Almost half done. Overall pace 9:27. Push to drop that by at least a second every remaining mile. End goal, finish with 9:15 pace. 

M7 There go the full marathoners. Now the mental game really kicks in. We’re not in the city anymore. Don’t let the pace slow because there aren’t as many runners around you. Stay with these two runners; they have a good pace.

M8 They slowed down, admitted they went out too fast. Move on. That millennial that just passed me will be the last person to pass me.

M9-10 Keep slowly picking off each of the group of five ahead. You might have a shot at catching the 2-hour group.

M11 These Alabama compression socks rock. This weather rocks. This course rocks. I can beat last weekend’s times. What is going on?

M12 Where is that 2-hour pacer? Oh, there he is. PUSH!

M13 No one told me the steepest hill was at the end. Get over it. Fly down the other side. You have done a negative split. I NEED ICE CREAM!

(There you have it. Below is the proof of states 13-15.)

Sabbatical: Race #2

Kentucky ✔

I found the Iron Horse Half Marathon race online. It is slated as a top destination race by Runner’s World. I now know why.

Midway, Kentucky isn’t far from downtown Lexington. Population, less than 2000. They may have as many horses. And this morning, it seemed about half the town was running the race.

The course really was picturesque. If you are a horselover and a runner, you should schedule this race. Be advised, it’s hilly. But you’ll be glad you did it. You feel like you are spending the morning on the horse farm. Very unique setting.

As for my “performance,” this was a test. How would I do running two halves back to back? How prepared was I? Would I manage myself well before, during, and after both races? 

I give myself a 90%. Surprisingly my thighs are worse off than my calves. I’ll take these two results happily and move on to State #15, possibly this next Saturday. Stay tuned